AS POSTINGS on Facebook go, Sam Young’s advert has certainly attracted plenty of attention.
“Groom needed for fake wedding reception. Intrigued? Read on... Your duties will be the first dance and then to have a good time. You can bring your (best man!)... You must be single and preferably over 5ft 9in and must be between the age of 40 and 50. Literate and sense of humour a must.”
The story behind the posting is that 47-year-old Sam has paid for and planned a wedding reception, complete with bridesmaids, disco and food for 70 guests – but she is not actually going to get married.
She has the cake, the wedding dress, the reception venue and even an engagement ring – and now all Sam needs is a groom, hence the Facebook ad.
Sam, from Buckskin, Basingstoke, was shopping with her sister when she came up with the unusual idea of having a wedding without getting married.
She said: “I have been single for a long time and I’m happily single, but I thought ‘why can’t I do this?’.
"My sister and I went shopping and she was looking at jewellery for her partner and I was looking at all these glamorous wedding and engagement rings and my sister said ‘you need the bloke first’ and I thought ‘no, I don’t.’ So I bought the ring. If I find a man, he can reimburse me!”
Sam, who works for adult services at Hampshire County Council, got married when she was 21, but was eight months pregnant at the time and did not have much money for a big wedding.
She got divorced in 1995, and in the past year has lost several stone in weight.
She said: “I was quite a large lady and I have lost lots of weight. I thought ‘I would love to wear a beautiful wedding dress’ because I’m now a size 10 and I was an 18.”
Sam also wanted to cheer her family up by holding a great party because her grandmother Irene Armer, 87, from Whitchurch, is ill with pancreatic cancer.
She said: “We have all been through the mill and it was just that I also want to be a bride. It’s just a party with me in a frock. We all need a bit of a cheer-up.”
Sam, who lives with her two sons, Scott, 24, and Callan, 23, who are part of the world-famous free running group, 3Run, has also been off work ill, suffering from gall stones and labyrinthitis, so the party will be a real pick-me-up for her.
In a couple of weeks, Sam has managed to book Brighton Hill Community Centre for her reception, organised for a friend to make her a cake, booked a DJ, bought a wedding dress, chosen her bridesmaid and sent out the invites. All that is left is to find a groom to accompany her.
Much to Sam’s surprise, she has already received quite a lot of interest from her Facebook posting, and is now carrying out interviews for the important role at the April wedding.
Her mum Sheila Armer, 64, is right behind her. She said of the wedding party idea: “I thought, ‘that’s Sam.’ I got into the swing of it and thought ‘why not?’.”